This article looks at the reception of logical positivism in the English-speaking world from the linguistic point of view. The inter-war Vienna Circle had a major impact on the development of English-language philosophy, but this was largely in the absence of published English translations. Many key essays appeared in English only well after the War, and the Circle’s 1929 manifesto ‘Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung: Der Wiener Kreis’ (The Scientific Conception of the World: The Vienna Circle) was first published in English translation as late as 1973. Before the rise of Nazism forced many of the key figures in the Vienna Circle to emigrate to Britain and the USA and begin lecturing and publishing in English, English-language philosophers like Ayer and Quine had studied logical positivism in Vienna. The article considers: the extent to which English-language philosophers were engaging with Vienna Circle ideas in German; the importance of popularisations of logical positivism by English-speaking philosophers; the history of English translations of Vienna Circle writings, and the nature of those translations. Finally, the role of translation within the philosophy of logical positivism itself is considered, and the overall contribution of Vienna Circle thinking to translation studies is assessed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Issue number1
Early online date28 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Vienna Circle
  • logical positivism
  • logical empiricism
  • translation

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